THURS. UPDATE: New UFC fights, Santorum/WWE connection, Punk-Sonnen, Tate-Rousey, Nash wants MMA

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        Tonight is the Impact go-home show:
*Mickie James & Traci Brooks vs. Gail Kim & Madison Rayne
*Rob Van Dam vs. Gunner
*Jesse Sorensen & Zema Ion vs. Austin Aries & Kid Kash
*A.J. Styles & Kazarian vs. Samoa Joe & Magnus - Winning team faces Matt Morgan & Crimson for the tag titles on Sunday's Genesis PPV
*James Storm & Jeff Hardy & Abyss vs. Bobby Roode & Bully Ray & Kurt Angle    
        Superstars tonight on the WWE web site:
*Mason Ryan vs. JTG
*Evan Bourne vs. Epico
*Ezekiel Jackson v.s Jinder Mahal
*Yoshi Tatsu vs. Tyson Kidd (WWE's best hidden in-ring feud) 
        A look back at the MMA career and the debates over Brock Lesnar, as well as details on the return of Chris Jericho, is the lead story in the new issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter that is on the site today.  We have usually six new issues per month and four back older issues as well as four or five issues per month of Figure Four Weekly on the site as well as all the radio content is part of a web site subscription.  In addition, both newsletters are available for print subscriptions.
        With Lesnar's MMA career having ended with the loss to Alistair Overeem, we look at his entire UFC career, we look at the divergent viewpoints on him, what is reality, what is silly, and more.  We look at the questions marks both he and Overeem faced going into their fight.  We look at Overeem's contract and what is shows about how much UFC main eventers actually earn, what has come out in court, why there is a court case regarding Overeem's deal and more.
        We look at Lesnar before, during the after the fight, why most are accepting Lesnar's retirement is legit even though nobody believes it when most fighters retire, Lesnar going to WWE, his prospects marketing wise, his legacy as a UFC fighter, realities of where he stands with former champions, as well as a look at the entire UFC 141 show.
        We look at what Dana White said to the fighters before the show and what materialized, how the title picture changed in a few weight classes based on results, business notes on the show, as well as early PPV numbers.
        The Wrestling Observer ranges from 25,000 to 40,000 words covering pro wrestling and MMA all over the world.
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        We have a look at the return of Chris Jericho, his previous returns to WWE, a funny reason why Eric Bischoff never pushed him in WCW, his WWE debut and his return and second return.  We look at the marketing plan for his return and whether it worked or not, the photos that surfaced of him, and the thought process behind what he did for his return.
        We also look at his Mania program and teases of his post-Mania work, when he starts back and more.
        We also look at the nine hour plus Dream and Inoki New Year's Eve show.  We look back at the debut of the New Year's Eve tradition in Japan on a show that featured a number of both pro wrestling and MMA legends and set an Osaka Dome attendance record, as well as the shoot fight between the top two finishers for Wrestler of the Year that took place on New Year's Eve many years ago.  We look at the peak of the New Year's Eve fighting tradition in Japan, and it's fall, as well as how the programming put in its place this year did.
        We have match-by-match coverage of a night of MMA, pro wrestling and kickboxing and which of the three got the best responses and what two matches stole the show.  We look at the storyline behind the matches and how they went.
        We've got more on the WWE network and 24/7 Classics on Demand.  We've also got an update on Randy Orton, what is wrong, his return and what unique status he has in WWE right now.  We've got an update on The Rock, reprising a 1998 angle very soon, PPV schedule for the year, plans for Brodus Clay, Cody vs. Dustin Rhodes feud, new name of a WWE performer, another celebrity talked with for Mania, where the ring collapsing spot in Show vs. Henry came from, shortest world title reign and a look at the return to Madison Square Garden.
        We also have a look at the week after Christmas in WWE, with business and show highlights from what is traditionally their best week of the year in the U.S. when it comes to touring.
        We also look at the pro wrestling angle regarding one of Japan's all-time biggest feuds.
        We also have ratings for all the national shows for the past week, who is and isn't watching and how each segment on Raw gained or lost audience. 

        We also have our regular weekly features with results of all the major arena events around the world, as well as all the major TV show
         Also in this week's issue:
--More on the new CMLL world champion
--Angle being dropped and wrestlers getting new characters
--Identities revealed of two decade long regulars
--90s star resurfaces as a new member of Perros Del Mal
--The retirement of Abdullah the Butcher and a Japanese ceremony to take place
--90s star returns to All Japan to try and bring back their world title
--All Japan's start of the year angle involving all of their championships
--Notes on the new shooter trio
--Notes on end of the year shows in Japan
--Controversy over world jr. title name
--Notes on A-Rod and Torrie Wilson
--Reports on death of Hall of Famer are exaggerated
--More on a new movie about one of pro wrestling's biggest stars and who will and won't be involved
--Two of the most famous tag teams of the past 20 years face off later this month
--Unique pro wrestling show set for Los Angeles
--More on Kim Neilson on "Biggest Loser."
--Anniversary of the end of one of the longest running weekly TV shows in U.S. history, an it was a pro wrestling show
--Update on Barry Windham
--Update on Luke Robinson
--A look back at 70s star Buddy Colt
--Famous evangelist's father was a 60s wrestling star
--Notes on next ROH TV tapings and future matches
--Notes on the Genesis PPV
--TNA's Christmas house shows
--Test of FX as a promotional vehicle for UFC
--State of UFC's welterweight division
--Behind the return of Miguel Torres
--Updates on Cain Velasquez and Junior Dos Santos
--Notes on ticket sales for upcoming UFC events
--Notes on this week's Showtime event
--UFC debuts in Sweden
--More on UFC's fastest fight arguments
--Notes on the UFC return to Japan and how tickets are doing
--Fighter retires on camera, and then says he has no recollection of it
--Lots of new UFC fights announced
--30-year-old solid level MMA fighter passes away tragically
--Sapp signs to face a Gracie        
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--A clarification regarding C.M. Punk at the 1/28 Chicago show, Punk will be walking to the ring with Chael Sonnen but he will not be in his corner.  The idea was that of Sonnen's, who asked Punk to do so.   
--The UFC announced Brian Stann vs. Alessio Sakara for the 4/14 debut in Stockholm, Sweden, which will be a Fuel TV event.  It's Stann's first fight since his loss to Chael Sonnen.
--With his showing in Iowa, there has been a lot of talk about Rick Santorum's involvement with wrestling.  Santorum worked for Kirkpatrick & Lockhart, the same law firm as Jerry McDevitt.  He worked as a lobbyist for WWE in the 80s in the state of Pennsylvania. 
--Regarding the Miesha Tate vs. Ronda Rousey fight talked about last night, that has actually been talked about for at least a month, both are denying the fight is on for 3/3 in Columbus, OH.  Tate on Facebook wrote, "So I come back from training & the whole world is saying I'm fighting Ronda, yet I would know if I was, so pls dismiss as rumors at this point, thanks."  Rousey only said that she has not signed a contract for such a fight.
--A preview to the Johnny Gargano vs. Ricochet match for the Evolve 10 iPPV on 1/14 is at
--From the twitter of Kevin Nash, as he challenges the Ultimate Warrior to a shoot fight:
"Never realized I had a problem with Jim (Warrior).  Seemed to get along fine in Scottsdale.  Come on my clown, turn that frown upside down." 
"A true warrior never turns down a challenge.  Put up a 100K.  I'll do the same.  3 rounds, mma rules, winner takes all."
"I'm talking shoot not sports entertainment.  Jim Hellwig needs to put up or shut the fuck up.  Day before Mania in Miami area."
"Warrior will have to pass all hiv and hep a b and c tests.  I'll do the same."
"I'm tired of the guy talking shit about the boys & me.  When they stop it or you tap, I'll quit, or you can apologize like the c*nt you are."
"You should watch your mouth.  You know your a bitch.  You want nothing to do with me.  You ran out of your gym to avoid me."
"You want to go pussy, name the place and time.  If not, shut your dick sucker and forget my name.  Bitch make me 100K richer."
--Holy junior high, batman.
--The premiere of UFC Tonight on Fuel on Tuesday did 39,000 viewers, which is more than double Fuel's prime time average, but it also tells you they are starting on the ground floor.   
--Jim Ross made reference to growing a beard and moustache, which became public earlier this week when he did a guest shot as an announcer at an Oklahoma  City Thunder NBA game.  He just said he didn't shave over the holidays but is getting rid of it.  So no coming back as a heel manager.
--There is a pre sale for a WWE Raw house show on 3/11 in Buffalo at Ticketmaster with the code term ROAD2WM
--Hulk Hogan's Micro Championship Wrestling, the short-lived show that Hulk Hogan was the key figure in, debuts on the TV channel Showcase Action in Canada on Monday night at 11 p.m.   
--TNA for its show tomorrow night in Westbury, NY is doing a food drive asking fans to bring healthy and nutritious canned food to the show at the NYCB Theater to feed needy.  The person who donates the most will win a TNA Brown Bag merchandise special.  They are headlining with Bobby Roode vs. Bully Ray vs. Jeff Hardy in a three-way for the title, Kurt Angle vs. James Storm and Gunner, managed by Ric Flair, vs. Devon.
--The Miz was at the Anaheim vs. San Jose Sharks game last night at the Honda Center in Anaheim, plugging the Raw taping on 1/16.  According to reader Garry Kamansky, he waved to the crowd.  "The fan reaction, however, was pure apathy.  There was zero reaction to him.  Not even a few stray claps.  I might have been the only person there to recognize him.  I felt embarrassed for him."  I remember many years ago going to a Sharks game with a WCW performer who at the time was not a main eventer or anything.  It wasn't as if people were going crazy or anything, but there was definitely recognition.
--The Briscoes talk about Saturday's ROH TV taping in Baltimore at
--Chris Hero will be working the 1/20 ROH show in Philadelphia.  Hero is taking dates only a few weeks into the future awaiting if everything will be clear for him to sign with WWE.
--Kenny King vs. Matt Jackson, with their respective tag partners in the corner, has been added to Saturday night's ROH tapings at the Du Burns Arena.  Sounds like another chance to stomp on Rhett Titus' bad knee while he's out of action.
--Mick Foley is going to the U.K. again for another comedy tour.  His schedule is
2/24 in London at the Leicester Square Theater
2/25 in London at the Leicester Square Theater
2/27 in Cardiff at the Glee Club
2/28 in Birmingham at the Glee Club
2/29 in Sheffield at Memorial Hall
3/1 in Liverpool at The Olympia
3/2 in Dublin at the O'Reilly Theater
--Poll on he UFC Tonight TV debut on Tuesday
Excellent 17.5%
Good 47.6%
Average 17.5%
Fair 9.5%
Poor 7.9%
        75.9% of those responding didn't see the show
--What show this week do you have the most interest in?
New Japan Tokyo Dome show 46.7%
Strikeforce 28.1%
TNA Genesis 25.2%
--Best show of late
UFC 140 Jones vs. Machida 30.9%
WWE TLC 20.6%
UFC 141 16.4%
ROH Final Battle 12.0%
Inoki bom ba ye 10.0%
Ultimate Fighter finals 5.3%
TNA Final Resolution 3.9%
Strikeforce Melendez vs. Masvidal 0.8%
--Does Brock Lesnar retiring have any impact on your interest in MMA?
Yes, now less interested 42.1%
None at all 55.9%
Will be more interested 2.0%
        Even among this subset, that's kind of a staggering number.
--Biggest show left this month
Royal Rumble 59.6%
UFC on FOX 29.1%
TNA Genesis 4.5%
UFC 142 Brazil 4.5%
UFC on FX 1.7%
Strikeforce this weekend 0.6%
--Max Holloway, with a 4-0 record, makes his UFC debut on 2/4 facing Dustin Poirier as a replacement for the injured Ricardo Lamas.  That's a tough debut for anyone as Poirier has looked good in his recent fights, including a win over Pablo Garza on the Anaheim show.
--Tickets go on sale tomorrow for the 2/15 UFC show in Omaha that will air on Fuel headlined by Diego Sanchez vs. Jake Ellenberger, Stefan Struve vs. Dave Herman and Stipe Miocic vs. Phil De Fries.  Tickets are priced at $150, $100, $75, $50 and $35.  It will be a three-hour show on Fuel starting at 8 p.m.  There will be a pre-game show on Fuel at 7 p.m. as well as a post-game show.  The Internet pre sale for UFC TGHUnewsletter readers is currently going on at

--The HBK reference in rap also came in a song from Iasmu featuring Loverance called "Swaggin all day" in a song where he says, "She don't like HBK, then she must be gay" at at the 1:02 mark (thanks to Cyrus Yamat)
--Michaels did acknowledge on twitter the reference to him in the song mentioned yesterday which is called "up," by LoveRance.

--IHWE will have its annual Hall of Fame ceremony at a show on 4/21 in Fort Worth.  They will induct Kamala (whose son will accept for him), Jazz, Prince Al Farat, Krusher Kong (who worked briefly for WCW as part of the Colossal Kongs tag team), Spoiler 2000, as well as honor the Texas Wrestling Academy school (the one run by Rudy Gonzalez) and the Dallas Sportatorium.  Among those they've inducted in the past include Johnny Valentine, Skandor Akbar, Matt Borne, Rodney Mack and Necro Butcher.
--A funny line in a story in the Times of India on the Ring Ka King promotion, noting cricket star Harbhajan Singh's involvement, called it India's first reality boxing show. (thanks to Michael Gregson)
--On the Australia TV show we talked about yesterday, Freddie Flintoff and Darren Gough compete in a series of challenges.  So they were supposed to face each other in a tag team match in Mexico, but since Flintoff couldn't wrestle because he got hurt in training running the ropes, his trainer Hours, took his place in the match and he just worked the corner.  (thanks to Graeme Cameron)
--A new promotion called MEXPW runs 2/25 in Los Angeles headlined by The Sheik.
--New Era Wrestling on 1/21 in Shelbyville, IN at the Boys Club headlined by Rob Conway.
--Power Trip Wrestling on 2/10 in Luton, Bedfordshire, UK at the Stopsley Working Men's Club headlined by Jonny Storm.
--All Star Wrestling on 1/13 in Cloverdale, BC at the Fairgrounds, which is an old stop in the British Columbia territorial days featuring Gangrel vs. Vance Nevada, 2 women's matches and  more, including Gorgeous Michelle Starr who is still wrestling.

Who is the strongest of these Hall of Fame candidates?


What do you believe is the second most popular promotion right now in the U.S?